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September 2015

Being in exile from oneself

Michael Marder on

On Yom Kippur, Michael Marder reflects on the exilic condition. With the rift between the State of Israel and the Jews of the diaspora growing wider by the day, could it be that the notion of exile holds the key to understanding what is at stake in the contemporary bifurcated situation of world Jewry?

Church group condemns cancellation of Rev. Hagler’s ‘Ferguson to Palestine’ speech

Ben Norton on

The Steering Committee of the United Church of Christ Palestine-Israel Network strongly condemned the cancellation of Reverend Graylan Hagler’s “From Ferguson to Palestine” talk at the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, NY after pro-Israel groups pressured the divinity school to cancel Rev. Hagler’s talk.

Fasting for Palestine

Marc H. Ellis on

Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza are sealed shut for Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is the most hypocritical day of the Jewish calendar. Or is it Passover, where the liberation promised to us, is denied to Palestinians?

Department of Projectile Vomiting

Philip Weiss on

Sort of a step down from Congress– Netanyahu is coming as a hero to Washington again, speaking to the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute in November

Israeli citizens for boycott call on Reykjavik to stand by its decision

Mondoweiss Editors on

“We, as Israeli citizens, are very limited in our ability to create change in the current political climate,” the Israeli group Boycott from Within writes to the Reykjavik City Council in urging it to stand by its decision to boycott Israeli products

The Republican candidates are fostering a dangerous culture of Islamophobia

Mondoweiss Editors on

Ben Carson and Donald Trump are not alone – the Republican presidential field is composed of candidates who have encouraged religious hatred that is a direct contradiction to bedrock American values, including freedom of religion. –Hillary Clinton website details a dangerous trend.

Everyone’s kicking AIPAC now that it’s down

Philip Weiss on

NPR, Bloomberg, and the New Yorker all run sharply critical pieces of the Israel lobby group AIPAC, a signal that its power is in eclipse. And The New Yorker calls out Chuck Schumer for his “extraordinary” identification as the “guardian” of Israel.

Tolstoy’s War and Peace . . . and Palestine

Mohammed Alhammami on

On a recent September evening, two groups of culturally curious people, separated by countries and borders, virtually gathered together for art and social justice. At Said Al-Mishal Establishment for Culture and Science, Gaza’s Theatre for Everybody performed a short version of Tolstoy’s classic “War and Peace.” Simultaneously, on the other side of the world at London’s Az Theatre, a group of British and international supporters gathered to watch a previously recorded version of the same performance. The play was centered on two themes: condemning war and denouncing dictatorship.

Israeli forces fracture teen’s skull as Jerusalem demonstrations continue

Kate on

Ma’an reports: Israeli forces fractured the skull of a 13-year-old boy [Mohammad Issa] with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-‘Issawiya overnight Saturday. Israeli forces fired gunshots and stun grenades “haphazardly” at demonstrators protesting the Israeli forces’ presence in the neighborhood, witnesses said. Clashes with Israeli forces in the neighborhood have been ongoing for the second week, as tensions in East Jerusalem heightened due to increased violence and restrictions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Rev. Graylan Hagler disinvited to speak on Palestine, sent death threats

Ben Norton on

Reverend Graylan Hagler, a veteran civil rights activist and outspoken supporter of Palestinian human rights, was invited by the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and Rochester, NY Friends of Sabeel Chapter to speak about Palestine on September 24. Mere days before he was going to travel to upper New York state for the talk, the divinity school disinvited Hagler following pressure from Christians United for Israel.

Bernie Sanders is ‘radical’ on economic policy but a pussycat for Israel

Philip Weiss on

Bernie Sanders calls for a political revolution and the break up of Wall Street banks, but when it comes to Israel he wants more military aid and blames the Palestinians equally for the conflict. He personifies the idea of PEP, progressive except Palestine, which is a key to the Israel lobby.


Philip Weiss on

Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman wags finger at Republicans over Muslims, and says Jews empathized with blacks because we were outsiders. Tell that to the Palestinians. This is PEP personified: progressive except Palestine.

J’lem mayor warns Palestinians in holy site clashes: ‘if they use violence we will hunt them’

Allison Deger on

On Friday afternoon prayers one Palestinian was shot by Israeli forces, and two Israeli police were injured in clashes across Jerusalem, amid a week of upheaval centering around al-Aqsa Mosque. In preparation for a call from Hamas for a “day of rage” Israeli police deployed 5,000 around Jerusalem and limited access to the Muslim holy sites by age. By evening Israel’s parliament approved drafting army reservists to street patrols, a signal of continuing strife.

Israeli government is too involved in settler movement to take on Jewish extremists, says leading Palestinian legislator

Allison Deger on

Aida Touma-Sliman, a member of Knesset for the Joint Arab List, says that Israel could indict Jewish terrorists for the Duma murders but it lacks the political will to do so. “In the last few years there were 17 mosques and churches burned down or attacked by right-wing activists or racists,” she told Allison Deger. “These are the extreme cases, but everyday we hear about cases by the seashore, or at the nightclubs—or of hotels warning their visitors that they might have Muslims [guests].”

A communal confession on Yom Kippur

Marc H. Ellis on

Rabbi Brant Rosen just published his congregation’s confession that will be prayed on Yom Kippur. Those on the political right and even those progressive Jews who continue to sit on the fence with regard to Israel and Jewish life in America, should take notice. Rabbi Rosen’s confession is wide-ranging. His title, “A Confession of Communal Complicity,” says it all. Unlike most rabbis during the High Holidays, Rabbi Rosen isn’t hiding behind a liturgy developed when Jews had little power. Rabbi Rosen knows that the Jewish situation in the world has changed from powerlessness to power. He isn’t pulling any religious or political punches.